Chola Dynasty in India

Chola Dynasty

Chola Dyansty :

Chola Dynasty of India is another vast and important Dynasty that ruled South India from 9th century.  Chola Dyansty is famous for its art and architecture.  During the period of Chola dyanasty many magnificent and beautiful temples were built which are famous even today. The Cholas gained control over South India by over throwing the Pallavas.  It not only ruled Southern India, but also took control over seas and ruled parts of Maldives and Srilanka.  The founder of Chola dynasty was Vijayala.  The Cholas were good in art and literature.  They have built lot of temples in TamilNadu like Brihadeshwara temple at Tanjavur, the temple at Gangaikonda, cholapuram, Airavateswara temple in traditional Pallava style.  The Airavateswara temple at Darasuram was built during the period of Rajaraja 1 has magnificent style. The artistic pillars, decorated walls show the richness of the Chola art and architecture.

After Vijayala, Aditya 1 defeated Pallava King Aparajitha and ruled from 907- 955 A.D.  Cholas earned lot of supremacy and control under Aditya 1.  To keep good relations with Cholas Rashtrakuta King, Krishna 2 gave his daughter in marriage to Aditya. Later Aditya was succeded by Parantaka 1. Parantaka I was an ambitious ruler and engaged himself in various wars during his reign. He conquered Madurai from the Pandya ruler Rajasimha II. He assumed the title of Maduraikonda (capture of Madurai). Chola dynasty was also thrived for long like Chandragupta 2 of gupta dynasty and Mauryan dynasty which ruled for many decades.

Rulers of Chola Dynasty

Rajaraja Chola

Rajaraja 2 and Rajendra chola:

Arumolivarman crowned himself as Rajaraja 2 and ascended the throne in 985A.D. He ruled almost for 30years.  Under him the Chola dynasty in India grew extensively and conquered Maldives. Rajaraja 2 also fought with Chalukyas and conquered most parts of Mysore. He was an able administrator and built many temples.  A temple built at Tanjore is named as Rajarajeshwara temple.  After Rajaraja 2 his son ascended the throne.   Rajendra chola is another great ruler of Chola Dyansty.  He attacked Bengal and defeated Pala ruler.  Rajendra Chola 1 took the title Gangaikonda means the victor of Ganges.  Rajendra Chola 1 built a capital called as Gangaikonda Cholapuram. Rajendra Chola extended his Kingdom till Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  During his period it was also called as Golden age of Cholas.  After Rajendra Chola 1 not many rulers were able to rule as extensively as the previous rulers.

Administration during Chola Dynasty

Administration: 

During the Chola Dyansty the entire South India came under a single government.  The Chola’s ruling system was slightly different from other rulers.  King was the head of the administrator. The form of rule under Chola was hereditary and Monarchial. The King appointed other ministers.  The whole empire was divided into small provinces known as Mandalams. Further they were divided into Valanadus, Nadus and Kurrams. The village was mainly divided into 3 groups. In the first group land was held by all castes and taxes to the King were paid in the form of land revenues. The second group was exclusively for Brahmins called as Agrahara Village. They were exempted from paying tax. The third and the last group was Devadana means village given to God. The revenue from these villages was donated to temple.  The economy and social life flourished during this period. Caste system was very rigid. Brahmins were highly respected. The position of women deteriorated during Chola’s period.

Temples during Chola Dynasty

Tanjavur temple

Chola Dyansty was famous for its magnificent and beautiful temples. Chola's and Chalukya Dyansty are famous for magnificent temples.  This remarkable Dyansty ruled for nearly 1500 years in the fertile plains of Tamil Nadu.  Major official ceremonies were held in temples.  Temples became the hub of political, economic and cultural activities during the Chola period. Chola represented the finest tradition of sculptures, painting, dance, music. Out of many temples built during their rule, three of them stand out and today are known as Great Living Chola Temples. The Brihadeshwara temple at Tanjavur, the Brihadeshwara temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavateswara temple at Darasuram are the three most stunning temples of their period.  Today these temples are part of UNESCO’s world heritage site. The Chola’s carried forward the Dravidian architecture of temple building set by Pallavas. The temples they built were huge, standing tall to depict their glory.  The architecture of the temples built during this period is a work of inspiration not just for temples in South India but even for others in the country. The temples built are world famous and important tourist destinations in India.

Decline of Chola Dynasty:

At the beginning of 13th century the Chola’s who had dominated the sub continent for centuries had drained all resources and started to decline. The armed forces which were their biggest strength had no resources to fight.  After the defeat by Pandya’s in 1217 Chola’s faced a continuous decline till 1279. Even though they came back to power after 1217 defeat it was difficult for Chola’s to hold back. The last King Rajendra chola 3 was defeated by Pandya King Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan 1.  Corruption also played a major role in the decline of this Dyansty. Chola’s had to face problems from Chalukya dynasty.